How To Identify and Avoid Toxic Backlinks?

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Nowadays, websites are a forceful medium to showcase your services and sell your products online.

Backlinks are quite a buzz in the digital marketing industry to improve SEO. Marketers have the option to either earn genuine backlinks or use unfair means to get them. However, a website can face a big blow of poisonous backlinks due to other’s wrong intentions.

Are you facing a sudden fall in rankings due to toxic backlinks? Do you want to find the sources of spammy incoming links? Otherwise, it is crucial to understand how to escape toxic backlinks coming to your website in the first place. In this article, we’ll explore in detail how to identify and avoid toxic backlinks.

What are Toxic Backlinks?

Let’s first understand what backlinks are. Backlinks are “inbound links” from other websites, social media, and any other external sources. They are popular votes on the internet that tell search engines about the website’s website’s reputation. It is an essential part of SEO.

Now, Backlinks have also their types. First, the quality backlinks that come from niche websites and resource websites. With this, Google realizes whether a particular website is trustworthy or not, and its ranking moves automatically upwards.

On the other hand, there are Toxic backlinks. Google considers these links as spammy. The website owner can initiate these links to gain artificial backlinks. Or the competitors can also send multiple backlinks to the website to drop their rankings.

How to identify and avoid Toxic Backlinks?

Marketers use different link-building techniques for getting backlinks. It is essential to recognize the backlinks that are not healthy for your SEO. You can even hire SEO professionals for making your job easier. The most common sources of Toxic backlinks are:

Comments on Blogs and Forums

Generally, blogs and forums have a comment section. When a website has many visitors, SEO managers put their website links over there. It may seem that they can attract a lot of traffic from there. But, Google algorithms are smart enough to distinguish that it is a spammy method.

Otherwise, websites use software to put links in unrelated forums, youtube comments, forum threads in responses and other places. It may seem to be driving traffic for few days. After, that Google is likely to penalize you and deindex your web page. If there are links to your whole website here and there, your complete website may get blocked.

Identifying the links from Comments

Backlinks from random blogs and forums negatively impact your site, having inferior domain authority and link influence. Once done, it is not easy to find the list of these links. But yes! You can compare the type of links with specific tools like ahrefs, cognitiveSEO. Start by checking out the metric performance of all backlinks you’re getting. Further, eliminate the ones having low-performance parameters.

Directory Links

Earlier, web and article directories used to work wonders in bringing people to your site. Directory submission services have access to the worldwide population. In this process, what happens? There is sudden significant unusual traffic coming from everywhere.

Further, an article directory is a website having a collection of articles on various subjects. These links can raise a flag for Google Algorithm.  How many people from the article directory will stay on your site? Very few! If they can’t relate to your niche, they’ll leave your site immediately. The bounce rate will shoot up in high numbers. Thus, it will directly affect website reputation.

Identifying the links from Directory Links

Put your website in link identification tools. Check the column of unnatural links, and you’ll see links from various directories. Then, make a list of these links. It is of utmost urgency to unlink these directories. For that, submit a disavow file to Google. These links will automatically be removed and no longer direct towards your website. 

Paid links seem to be quite enticing at first glance. Sponsored content directly violates the Google Webmaster Guidelines. Strategies like exchanging links with each other, promoting services in place of backlinks and buying gifts can land in a lot of trouble. Don’t you think it is necessary to cross-verify the placements of such links? Google can easily detect links hanging randomly on other websites as toxic one.

Unnatural Content

After the penguin algorithm, the guest posting scaled like anything.

Are you posting anywhere wherever someone agrees in exchange for links? Many websites do guest blog writing with anchor text having no relation to the topic. It doesn’t offer any value to the readers and provide a bad user experience. It is a worst-case SEO!

Other than that, spun content and articles are pretty prominent in the online market. Writing one article and generating multiple copies with slight variation in the content. Many software and widgets are there to create such text. So, what is the result of such articles? These articles contain many backlinks to the website. A clear spam indication!

You might be not following the above criteria, but there is another thing. It is your anchor text exactly matching your landing page. Search engines mark keyword-rich anchor text as unreal and toxic. Additionally, they lack credibility and source authentication. And such contents have less relevance with editorial context.

Identifying the paid links and links from unnatural content

SEO marketers can use Moz site explorer and Open site explorer for viewing such links. Enter your website over there. Then, click on the anchor text option. The list of unnecessary links will get opened. If there are exchange links on your site, then it is necessary to remove them by putting a “nofollow” HTML tag. 

Competitor Game plan

Are you witnessing unexpected deviation in your website traffic? It could be the competitor game plan as well to affect your rankings. If this problem remains unaddressed for a long time can destroy your website reputation permanently.

So, continuous monitoring of such links is of paramount importance. You can frame SEO strategy to look for such attacks like once or twice a week. Now, the question arises of how to remove such backlinks. Put a complaint about such links on the Google forum. Then, submit the disavow file on Google Console.


Quality backlinks can prove a rocket science SEO tool for your website. On the other hand, toxic backlinks can make your rankings go deep down the drain. For this, marketers need to introspect and analyze the sources of spammy backlinks. They can be footer links, spammy content, directories, and others. In the first place, digital marketers must stop these practices completely. For already present links, it is best to find and remove them there and then.

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